Bihar’s chaotic capital sprawls along the south bank of the Ganges for 15km, just east of the river’s confluence with three major tributaries. Patna has a couple of worthwhile sights, but it’s a noisy, congested city that's used mostly as a transport hub, or as a base for day trips to sights in northern Bihar.
For more than a millennium, Patna was one of India's most powerful cities. Early in the 5th century BC, Ajatasatru shifted the capital of his Magadha kingdom from Rajgir to Pataliputra (Patna), fulfilling Buddha’s prophecy that a great city would arise here. Emperors Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka also called Pataliputra their capitals, making it the centre of empires that stretched across most of the subcontinent. Little trace of these glory days remains.